The War on Weldon


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September 21, 2006

© Jack Cashill

The Clinton shadow government (CSG) is picking battles where it can as long as they are not on a real battlefield. This November it has set its figurative sights on Curt Weldon, a veteran Republican congressman from Pennsylvania’s Democrat-leaning 7 th District.

Weldon is paying the price for exposing a project known as Able Danger. In June 2005 he revealed that Clinton administration attorneys had intervened to stop the “Able Danger” group in the Defense Intelligence Agency from initiating preventive actions against two of the 9-11 terrorists. He has also written the book, Countdown to Terror, an exposé of the CIA’s performance prior to September 11 that won him few friends in that overly politicized agency or in the bowels of either the previous or the current administration.

To oppose him, the CSG has put up a retired Admiral, who grew up in Weldon’s district, but has not been seen there since by the name of Joe Sestak. I say “put up” with some precision. The Weldon camp fully believes that the CSG hand-picked the admiral to prevent Weldon from digging any deeper into the Clinton track record. This unseen record includes, as Weldon himself told me, clues to former NSA Director Sandy Berger’s motive for stealing and destroying documents from the national archives.

Now the principal of the lobbying and consulting firm, Stonebridge International, the dubious Berger has been leading the charge for Sestak. To that end, he hosted a serious fundraiser for the admiral in Washington, which raised tens of thousands of dollars for the Sestak campaign. Berger has also lent the Sestak campaign Stonebridge’s Director of Communications, Allison Price, to serve as its official campaign spokesman.

The Sestak donor list reads likes a who’s who of international mismanagement. There is, of course, the disgraced Berger. Then there is the disgraced former CIA director, John Deutch, who had signed a criminal plea agreement in connection with his mishandling of national secrets a day before being pardoned by the outgoing President Clinton. One interesting contribution came in from the disgraced Mary O. McCarthy, recently fired from the CIA after failing a polygraph on leaked classified information in regards to CIA prisons overseas.

In addition to the disgraced there are the merely disreputable. Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, still fuming over her churlish portrayal on ABC’s Path to 9-11, gave her fair share, as has Hillary Clinton, Richard “Against All Enemies” Clarke, former NSA director Anthony Lake, and former White House Chief of Staff, John Podesta.

Sestak’s own employment record is a little troubled as well. Gil Spencer, a columnist with the Delaware County Times, talked with many of the military people who knew him best. Although very bright by all accounts, Sestak was “reassigned” by the U.S. Navy for what was called “poor command climate.” According to Navy people, “reassigned” is a nice way to say “fired.” One colleague called him “narcissistic” and “Machiavellian.” Said another, “He has a dark side to his personality.” Even his supporters acknowledge that he could be extremely difficult. Sestak’s “reassignment” has not, however, kept him from wearing a full dress uniform in campaign appearances, a Navy no-no. He may not have known. Until this past year, he had no known political aspirations or interests.

In an ongoing pattern—Kerry, Murtha, Wesley Clark—the Democrats use military veterans as props in their ongoing campaign to weaken America’s defenses and then attack the military record of anyone who dares challenge their Potemkin veterans.

As part of the pattern, the left in general and the Sestak campaign in particular has come to use “swiftboat” as a verb meaning “to slander.” They have convinced themselves that Senator Kerry’s fellow swiftboat officers all lied. What this suggests, of course, is that no Democrat has actually read Unfit for Command, a painfully true account of John Kerry’s sham heroics in Vietnam, affirmed by essentially every officer who knew him, and co-authored by a Democrat veteran, John O’Neill. The ability of the left to screen out all information that does not serve their worldview drives the rest of us nuts. It also has serious negative implications both for the culture and for national security.

Weldon has been victimized by this myopia. One Democrat blogger casually refers to the congressman as “unhinged Republican incumbent Curt Weldon.” Another refers to him as “Crazy Curt ‘Able Danger’ Weldon” as though Able Danger was some sort of right wing fantasy.

When Weldon’s campaign manager, Michael Puppio, Jr., questioned the propriety of Mary McCarthy’s donation to the Sestak campaign, another blogger ridiculed his comments as conspiratorial. The possibility that a book like Weldon’s, which details the CIA mismanagement of the war on terror, just might raise the ire of the political types within the Agency strikes this blogger as “vintage conspiracist nuttery.” The same blogger goes on to comment that “no conspiracy is too attenuated, too poorly supported by the evidence, and too downright stupid for a bonafide conspiracy theorist.”

Weldon knows a good deal more about Washington’s secrets than he has already revealed, including at least one close to my own heart. But living in a media world that turns a blind eye to the obvious and accepts the fantastic as true, he has to be careful with what he says, certainly before an election. If the Democrats regain the House in November, his seat in particular, the possibility for exposing the truth on several key issues will effectively end.

That is not to say that the climate right now is terribly encouraging for truth telling. But on the other hand it Is not terribly scary either. That could change.

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